The Naming Committee has approved – and rejected – a new batch of names for public use.
RÚV reports that the Naming Committee took exception with two “second names”; not so much middle names, but more of a second given name, often said with the first (e.g. “Vala Rut” or “Bragi Páll”). The Committee has ruled that neither Thor nor Hólm may be used as second names. The reasoning in these cases being that Hólm is already in use as a surname, and Thor as a given name, ergo neither can be second names.
For the record, two famous Icelanders already break this rule: businessman Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson and Assistant to the Minister of Finance Svanhildur Hólm Valsdóttir.
Not that it was all rejection notices at the Committee. The following women’s names met their approval: Valkyrja, Sæla, Malína, Lexí and Brandís. The male name Ólaf was also approved, but the Committee refused to even consider reviewing the name Lady.
The purpose of the naming laws – and the Naming Committee which operates under their auspices – is to ensure names can be declined in accordance with Icelandic grammar. They also seek to determine if a new name has historical precedence in Iceland. Currently, foreign names are simply not declined when used in Icelandic speech or writing. However, there has been growing support for shuttering the institution altogether.